Make-A-Wish Foundation sending Jake Nosler to NY
One 16-year-old’s wish to visit his favorite Major League Baseball team, the New York Yankees, will come true this week.
Jake Nosler and his family will be leaving for New York City, on an all-expenses-paid trip, on Thursday for a limousine tour of many of the city’s landmarks, but at the top of that list will be a private tour of Yankee Stadium where Jake just might get to meet a few of his favorite players before taking in a game while being called a “Yankee for a day.”
Nosler, of Forrest City and a former resident of the Palestine area, was diagnosed with a brain tumor in October. He had two brain surgeries and suffered four strokes. He was treated at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital and Children’s Hospital in Atlanta, Ga.
Nearly a year later, Nosler is making progress, but is undergoing physical therapy to recover. It was at East Arkansas Physical Therapy (EAPT) on Saturday where Nosler first learned about his wish being granted.
Nosler was told by his parents, Kerry and Paula, that a session that he had scheduled earlier last week had to be rescheduled.
“He’s been here a few months and we’ve gotten to know him pretty well,” said Jim Murry, of EAPT. “Jake is just a great kid.”
Kim Clark Dillard, of EAPT, has worked closely with Nosler.
“Jake loves baseball,” Dillard said. “He really misses baseball, and I told him that physical therapy is the first step back to that. We’re very pleased with Jake’s progress.”
Before he arrived, Dillard told the crowd of well-wishers that Nosler was not thrilled to be coming on a Saturday for therapy.
But that soon changed when Nosler, his mother, father and younger brother, Jordan, all rounded the corner coming into the therapy room. In there, they were met by about 60 people, including the entire Palestine-Wheatley football team and coaching staff, and Nosler’s opinion about the Saturday therapy session changed.
Karen Johnson, a Make-A-Wish volunteer from Memphis, introduced herself to Nosler and told him that his wish had come true. Nosler responded to the news by stating, “That’s amazing!”
Johnson spoke about the plans for Nosler’s trip before he arrived, saying that his tour will also include the Bronx Zoo, the Statue of Liberty and the 9/11 Memorial.
“He qualified because he has a life-threatening condition,” Johnson said. “A lot of people think it is for terminal children, but it’s different. We want to encourage them to continue to make progress.”
Lori Richardson, a Make-A-Wish volunteer from Marianna, was also on hand.
“I’m very excited for him,” Richardson said. “I hope that he gets some good memories that he can carry with him for the rest of his life.”
Nosler’s mother shared how much this opportunity means to her son and the family.
“With everything he’s been through, he needs this,” Paula Nosler said. “He’s been going to rehab here at EAPT, and I know Kim will get him to walk again. We are thankful for all of this.”
Jordan Nosler said he felt like his older brother was really surprised. “I knew about it and he knew that he had asked Make-A-Wish to go to New York, but he didn’t know anything until we walked in the door,” he said.
Paula Nosler said Jordan has supported his brother through the entire ordeal.
His father also spoke about the trip. “It is amazing, it really is,” said Kerry Nosler. “It’s nothing that you’d ever think that you could do. I wish it wasn’t for this reason, but it will be great for him.”
While there are many Yankee fans across the country, there are many baseball fans that do not care for them much. Kerry Nosler is an Atlanta Braves fan, and said he falls into that category.
“I’m a fan of the Braves and whoever is playing the New York Yankees,” laughed Kerry Nosler. “I’m not a fan, but that may have to change.”
Kerry Nosler had already made some progress towards warming up to the team by the end of the party. When his son received a new Yankees cap in the gifts he was given, he handed the Yankees cap he had been wearing to his father, who removed the Arkansas Razorbacks cap he had on in favor of the Yankees cap.
All joking aside, Kerry Nosler expressed his thanks to everyone involved.
“I want to thank Jim Murry and his staff at EAPT for letting us use his building on Saturday and the help they have given Jake,” said Kerry Nosler. “I’d also like to thank the Palestine-Wheatley football team and the coaches for coming. We’d like to thank Make-A-Wish and everyone who came out. We are really grateful for this.”
As the crowd thinned, the man of the hour spoke about the trip.
When asked what he felt about the news, Jake Nosler responded that it is “awesome.”
Jake said he had never been to New York, but has an older brother who had gone there before.
While Jake said he was looking forward to “everything,” he added that his favorite player is Alex Rodriguez, the Yankees’ third baseman.
With any luck, Jake Nosler will get to meet his favorite player and add it to the memories of what will be the trip of a lifetime for him.